Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrate the Baby: Disappearing 9 Patch – Part II

Finally! I got myself motivated and caffeinated enough to finish my quilt (here’s Part I). Since I’m not expert on the subject of quilting in general or binding in specific, I won’t deign to call this any sort of tutorial or anything. I am, however, feeling quite fantastic with myself now that it’s all done.

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I used a good quality white sheet for the backing, a thinner cotton/poly (80/20) blend for the batting, and a coordinating orange quilter’s cotton for the binding (from my local quilting store… The Quilting Season). I chose that color because it matched my nursery chair, a smallish armchair that fit me like Goldilocks in Little Bear’s bed. I found it for $30 at our local PTO thrift shop… perfect condition, so comfy, and unabashedly orange. I knew it was coming home with me…

The quilting itself was a mish-mash. I started out by using a walking foot with a rounded, meandering sort of stitch to mimic hand quilting down the major seams. I looked good, but I needed to do even more stitching in order to properly follow the directions on the batting, which calls for a spacing of no more than 4 inches between stitch lines. That forced me to pull out my “Big Foot”… a special darning foot designed for free motion quilting. I had done a very small amount of free motion work for past projects, and (with so many small people around) I’m practically an expert at darning at this point. But quilting a big thing was more challenging, especially since I don’t have a quilting table. Still, I have to call it very successful. I have some puckers which I won’t point out… I’m sure more practice could have made that work out better. But it’s finished. I have to again reference the amazing Jodi from SewFearless… she and I were chatting recently about running into a wall with some projects, simply being paralyzed by the idea of a project not turning out as great as we had hoped. Her wise husband had said, “You can always make it better, if by better you mean never finished.” Well said!

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So, after stalling out after the quilting for a couple weeks, I tackled the binding. I made a straight-grain strip 3.5” wide (sewing shorter strips together), folded it in half widthwise , ironed, then stitched it onto the top side of my quilt, leaving a 1/2” seam allowance around which to wrap it. I did my corners using this technique… it really worked well and turned out beautifully. I hand-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt for a smooth, uncluttered look. That last bit of work was well-worth it for the great results. I didn’t have enough fabric to allow bias binding, but I’m hoping the double layer of straight-grain will increase it’s longevity. Time will tell.

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Really... I just love how it turned out! I love the colors. I love the pattern. I love the binding. I enjoyed the process so much more than with any of my previous quilts, and I think it’s because this one involved more craftsmanship and time investment, but it wasn’t tedious work. That really did translate into a better finished product… who would have guessed? It’s certainly no masterpiece, but for a quilt I intend to use regularly, display prominently, and launder normally, it’s even better than I had hoped. And, what’s more, I learned a few things while making it. Bonus!

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2 comments:

sewfearless.com said...

So beautiful. I love your quilting job! And I am totally impressed by your free motion quilting. This quilt will be a loved one in your family. :)

I need to stop slacking and work on Duncan's quilt.

Thanks for pushing me on Gianna's birthday project as well. :)

Andrea said...

Gorgeous Karen! Maybe you can help me on a quilt I have in the wings, just waiting to be finished. :)